New Delhi: The Union cabinet has approved 10% reservation in jobs and educational institutions for the economically backward section in the general category, sources told PTI on Monday.
This reservation will be over and above the existing 50% reservation, they said, adding that the government is likely to bring a constitutional amendment bill in parliament on Tuesday.
“The reservation will be given to those economically backward poor people who are not availing the benefit of reservation as of now,” a source said.
According to the Indian Express, this reservation is for people who earn less than Rs 8 lakh per year. In order to bring about a law for this, Articles 15 and 16 of the constitution will have to be amended.
Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment Ramdas Athawale has called the decision a ‘good start’. “The issue of reservation caused a lot of conflict between Dalits and Savarnas. My demand has always been for 25% reservation for the upper caste poor; 10% is a good start,” Indian Express quoted him as saying.
Former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, who quit the BJP in April last year, however, has said the move is another ‘jumla‘.
The proposal to give 10% reservation to economically weaker upper castes is nothing more than a jumla. It is bristling with legal complications and there is no time for getting it passed thru both Houses of Parliament. Govt stands completely exposed.
— Yashwant Sinha (@YashwantSinha) January 7, 2019
Congress leader Harish Rawat expressed a similar position.
Harish Rawat,Congress on 10% reservation approved by Cabinet for economically weaker upper castes: ‘Bohot der kar di meherbaan aate aate’, that also when elections are around the corner. No matter what they do, what ‘jumlas’ they give, nothing is going to save this Govt pic.twitter.com/PXBwWvNKTY
— ANI (@ANI) January 7, 2019
The party’s spokesperson, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, called it a “election gimmick”.
See last two tweets re reservation 4forwards? Qs—did u nt think of this for 4 yrs 8 mths? so obviously thought of as election gimmick 3mths b4 model code! (3) u know u cannot exceed 50% maxima so it is done only to posture tht u tried unctal thing (4) do u hv majority 4ctal am?
— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) January 7, 2019
Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal challenged the Narendra Modi government to pass the amendments before 2019 elections.
चुनाव के पहले भाजपा सरकार संसद में संविधान संशोधन करे। हम सरकार का साथ देंगे। नहीं तो साफ़ हो जाएगा कि ये मात्र भाजपा का चुनाव के पहले का स्टंट है https://t.co/CuediQtgse
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 7, 2019
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejaswi Yadav criticised the decision, saying reservations are not meant to improve financial condition, but to ensure representation of socially backward people. Speaking to News18, he said, “If financial condition was to be improved, Narendra Modi should have given Rs 15 lakh and jobs.”
#NewsAlert — Reservation is not to improve financial condition. It was for representation of socially backward people. If financial condition was to be improved, PM @narendramodi should have had given Rs. 15 lakh and jobs: @yadavtejashwi pic.twitter.com/8c9jlw5ock
— News18 (@CNNnews18) January 7, 2019
BJP MPs, allies welcome move
BJP MP Udit Raj welcomed the move, saying the parliament is empowered to raising the ceiling of reservation. “I welcome wholeheartedly reservation given to economically… Now the ceiling will be raised from 50 to 60 per cent,” he said, according to Hindustan Times.
The BJP’s allies Republican Party of India (Athawale) and Lok Janashakti Party also welcomed the move. RPI chief and Union minister for social justice and empowerment Ramdas Athawale called the move a “masterstroke”.
LJP’s Chirag Paswan welcomed the move, saying he was happy with the government’s decision.
— News18 (@CNNnews18) January 7, 2019
(With PTI inputs)